The goal of regenerative endodontic procedures is to preserve and stimulate stem cells from the apical papilla (SCAPs) to develop the pulp-dentin complex using various growth factors and scaffolds. We hypothesized that the treatment of SCAPs with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) or nerve growth factor (NGF) may impact the expression of osteogenic and dentinogenic markers.
The optimum concentration of VEGF and NGF on SCAP viability was assessed and introduced to SCAPs for 6–24 hours. SCAPs were also challenged with Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of DSPP, DMP1, TGFB1, OCN, SP7, and TWIST1 was examined via quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Immunohistochemistry was used to verify protein expression. In addition, total RNA from NGF-treated SCAPs in the presence or absence of LPS was extracted for RNA sequencing.
Compared with untreated cells, NGF-treated SCAPs showed markedly higher levels of DSPP, DMP1, and TGFB1 mRNAs (>9-fold change, P < .05), and SCAPs treated with both VEGF and NGF showed a significant increase of DSPP and TGFB1 mRNAs (P < .05). In addition, in LPS-challenged SCAPs, treatment with these growth factors also exhibited increased expression of DSPP, DMP1, and TGFB1 mRNAs, with the most significant change induced by VEGF (P < .05). Immunohistochemistry confirmed increased dentin sialophosphoprotein, dentin matrix acidic phosphoprotein 1, and transforming growth factor beta 1 protein expression in treated SCAPs. RNA sequencing revealed multiple pathways regulated by NGF, including TGF-β and neurogenic pathways.
VEGF- and NGF-induced dentinogenic/neuronal/healing marker expression in SCAPs indicates the potential value of applying these growth factors in regenerative endodontic procedures.
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Published online: February 26, 2021
Accepted: February 18, 2021
Received in revised form: February 9, 2021
Received: October 27, 2020
© 2021 American Association of Endodontists.